How Technology is Changing Marketing for Dentists and Doctors
Many industries are being impacted by new technology and transforming the way they market their business. Doctors and dentists are not excluded from this trend, and they are also starting to change the way they approach medical marketing.
Doctors and dentists are not excluded from this trend, and they are also starting to change the way they approach medical marketing. Do not be the last one to the party and be sure your medical practice is embracing these new technologies when advertising your business. Avoiding them only gives your competitors an advantage over you and makes it more difficult for you to grow your business. The experts at PatientGain.com can help you in each of these areas and help you integrate them into your business.
6 key technologies impacting marketing for dental and medical practices.
Technology No 1: Social Media
Social media is not a fad and is not a fading trend. It is hard to stay away from it, and in our ever-connected world, it is safe to assume that future generations and older generations will use it. Doctors and dentists and other healthcare professionals need to be careful about using social media in their medical marketing campaigns. Unlike other industries, you need to be careful not to violate any HIPPA privacy regulations. For example, A landscaper can post pictures of how they helped a client and detail the work they were hired to perform. However, a doctor could not talk about their patients’ services unless they receive explicit written permission.
With that said, social media is a great way to connect to your current patients, and potential patients in the community. The content you post on your social media account will significantly impact your engagement. If your medical practice only posts links to services or specials currently being offered, expect low engagement. People, including your patients, do not always want to be “sold” something, even if you are a Med Spa. It is essential to keep them up to date about your services, but you need to put other content into your posting schedule. Other posts could be pictures of your facility, information about your employees, or local health stories. The key is to keep a nice mix of posts to keep people’s attention; otherwise, they will likely unfollow your social media accounts.
Many Doctors and dentists and medical professionals have accounts on:
Depending on how savvy you are with social media and the nature of your business, you also may want to consider accounts on:
Technology No 2: Online Appointments
Online appointment is an excellent piece of technology that has dramatically impacted the patient count of many medical practices. While an online appointment system does not do any marketing itself, many medical practices use it as a centerpiece of their marketing. They will promote their abilities to accept online appointments across their marketing materials. Online appointments give medical clinics a distinct advantage over their competitors.
Typically, someone would make an appointment by calling the front desk of an office. The ability to secure an appointment was then limited during the regular business hours of medical practice. After hours, they would have to leave a message, assuming the voicemailbox was not full, or wait until morning to rush the phone lines with a phone call. For a patient, this makes trying to figure out their weekly schedule nearly impossible. For employees working at the front desk, their morning is packed with answering the phone, listening to voice mail messages, and scheduling people. It may have worked alright in the past, but if someone cannot get an appointment right away, they will call around. Doctors and dentists are potentially losing a lot of business because of this.
With online scheduling, a patient can schedule themselves 24 hours a day every day of the year, assuming they have an internet connection. When connected to your ERM via a secure connection, a potential patient will have instant access to the schedule. They will be able to request an appointment without having to wait to get a call back from a clinic. Patients like having more control and say in their healthcare, and many respond positively to scheduling their appointments. The online and automatic nature of online appointments also makes it easier for your staff to manage your day.
Technology No 3: Medical Engagement Chat Bots
Chatbots are increasingly more common in many industries. A chatbot is a program that engages with a customer and assists them in simple tasks or finding the information they are looking for. They mimic the natural conversation an actual person would have, although all of their answers are preprogrammed. For retail industries, they have been proven to increase conversion rates and boost sales. While being adopted slowly, chatbots for medical practices are proving to be effective.
A medical engagement chatbot is generally not designed to make a “sale” but instead used to engage a patient. This chatbot’s overall goal is to help a patient or potential patient find information on your website. Some medical chatbots will also help a patient make an online appointment. Any topics a chatbot cannot help with will cause it to ask for contact information. It will then forward it with the question it cannot answer to the staff to follow up with later.
The advantage of medical practice to embrace this technology is it will make your business more efficient. The more information a chatbot can answer, the fewer phone calls that will come to your front desk. This affords more time for your staff to work with patients who have more complicated issues or questions. Another advantage of having a chatbot is that it is always available. If every phone line in your clinic is busy, a chatbot is available to answer questions and take information if needed. If your office is closed over an extended holiday weekend, a chatbot will still be available to answer questions. There is more to gain from using a chatbot then there is to lose!
Technology No 4: Texting From Your Dental or Medical Website
Besides someone’s keys or wallet, a cell phone is one of the things that practically no one leaves the house without these days. Just about every cell phone plan also has a texting plan allowing you to connect with your patients via text. Studies have shown that text messages have a very high open and read rate compared to emails. Many factors play into this, but you get fewer texts per day then you do emails. So, when a text arrives, chances are it is going to be read.
Doctors and dentists have used this technology to engage with their current patients very effectively. Keep in mind that text campaigns should not be used in any way that would violate HIPAA regulations. For example, you would not want to send test results to someone via text. Another example would be segmenting your database by people who have had STD tests in the last four months and then sending them a reminder to get retested. These are a violation of HIPAA because texting is not a secure way to communicate. Text messages are not encrypted when sent or stored, and anyone can read them once they arrive at a phone.
Instead, texting should announce new services or remind people of annual events, like yearly physicals or flu shots. Some Doctors and dentists also text patients based on their last visit, such as checking in with them if they have not visited in over a year. These messages to people are much more general and do not violate any privacy restrictions. These text campaigns, sent with links or a phone number, can help to spur a patient to contact a medical clinic for an appointment. Many texting services also provide metrics allowing you to see how often a link is clicked on and how many people unsubscribe.
Speaking of unsubscribing, you need to make it very easy to unsubscribe from a texting list, and people must “opt-in.” Opting in is usually accomplished by having patients check something off when they register, permitting you to contact them via text for marketing offers. Some may not understand or remember doing this, so make it easy for them to unsubscribe. You should also avoid sending texts out more than once every week or two. More than that and you risk getting a high unsubscribe rate, making other campaigns less effective.
Technology No 5: Email Marketing
At one time, email marketing was king of all digital marketing. However, over the years, it has become less effective. First, many companies across all industries are sending emails out every day. You probably receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails every day from businesses. Second, many email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail now automatically filter many emails from businesses and place them in their own “promotions” folder, causing many of these emails to remain unread. Despite this, email marketing still has a place in Doctors and dentists’ medical marketing plans if appropriately used.
First and foremost, do not spam people. If you send out an email every day to your patients, you send out too many emails. At most, you should be sending out an email once a week, but only if it is useful, informative, and engaging. Emailing once a week about your hours of operation and highlighting one of your services will not get good results. However, you could email once a week with a new blog you have written, highlighting a staff member, and showcasing a service and how it recently helped a patient. Something like that would be engaging, informative, and may just be forwarded to family and friends. Unfortunately, an email campaign like that does take time to put together, and as a doctor, you may not have time to do that unless you hire a dedicated marketing manager.
When you send emails to your patients, it should be done through an email marketing program, not just sent from your usual email address. An email marketing service will provide several features that your regular inbox will not. They often include:
• Counting how many times your email was opened
• Counting how many times your email was forwarded
• Counting all links that have been clicked
• Managing any unsubscribe requests, removing them from your database.
• Alerting you if your patients have sent too many spam notifications.
This data is invaluable in determining the effectiveness of your campaigns and must be considered when moving forward.
Technology No 6: Digital Online Forms or HIPAA Compliant Online Registration
Online registration is a little different than making online appointments, although the two are related. Regardless of whether you make an appointment in person, over the phone, or online, you will need to fill out some registration paperwork at some point. This paperwork often includes providing your contact information, insurance information, past medical history, and the reason why you are visiting a medical clinic. No one likes filling out paperwork as it is time-consuming. Patients do not like filling it out, and your front desk employees do not like trying to decipher handwriting to enter it into the system. Mistakes can certainly happen, which only reflects negatively on your reputation. Advertising that you have electronic registration can help sway a new patient to choose their medical practice.
Many medical practices are embracing online registration forms. These forms are sent to a patient over a secure, encrypted connection. Patients fill out all the information they need and typically write out on paper with a pen and clipboard. Once this information is completed, it is sent back and digitally uploaded into a medical clinic’s EMR, skipping any part where a staff member has to copy information. Again, everything is sent and returned over a secure SSL connection. These registration forms can be filled out on a computer, mobile device, or tablet. Many allow patients to take a picture of their insurance card to upload rather than type out policy and group numbers printed on a card.
The advantages of having digital, secure registration forms are enormous. It often saves time for the patient who can fill out faster on a computer or phone than with a pen and clipboard. For your staff, they do not have to copy over things into your system by hand, saving them time. Finally, if a patient needs to be referred to a specialist or another doctor, these forms can be electronically sent over, saving them time at that clinic. Overall, it will save you time and money, not to mention you will have to spend less on paper and printer ink.
Overall, technology is making a significant impact on the way Doctors and dentists marketing their practices. Some technology involves the way they promote their business; other technology makes their practice more efficient and more promotable. Regardless of embracing some or all this technology, leveraging it to bring more people to your practice can seem overwhelming. You can rely on the experts at PatientGain.com to help you grow your business. Call our team today and let us start to help!
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8 Reasons Why Content Is Important.
Your Content Is the Single Most Important Factor in Your Online Success.
1. Content defines your brand.
2. Content expresses who you are, how you conduct your business.
3. Content is read by the Search Engines – and this results in GOOD or POOR rankings – You should NEVER copy content from another site. Checking ideas from other websites is OK, but copying content is like shooting yourself in the foot.
4. Content can make your marketing flourish.
5. Content can make your advertising irresistible.
6. Social media loves GOOD content.
7. Email marketing with good quality content will give you higher open-rates.
8. Best of all – Patients LOVE Useful content.
PatientGain.com is a proven dental and medical marketing solution, includes apps, websites, SEO, HIPAA compliance and account management.
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